We made a clip show from all the video Carl shot while on the Baja Ha-Ha this year. Hilarious!
We made a clip show from all the video Carl shot while on the Baja Ha-Ha this year. Hilarious!
This year’s post-Ha-Ha trip back up the Baja coast was, like last time, a re-play of the Ha-Ha in reverse.
We stocked the boat with food, water, and fuel in Cabo, and set out on November 8 just after the Ha-Ha awards ceremony, bound for Bahia Santa Maria. When we arrived, there was one other boat in the bay: the steel-hulled Muktuk sailed by Austrian Karl Mayer and family. They are one of the saltiest cruising families out there, home-schooling their kids, eating homemade kelp pickles, and making some extraordinary passages like New Zealand to Alaska and Alaska to Cape Horn. We waited a day for the next weather window, then made our way north to Turtle Bay.
The weather this year was dominated by a norther in the Sea of Cortez. The Pacific side of Baja is mostly insulated from weather in the Sea of Cortez (and vice versa), but there are places where the wind pours through the mountains, making it like sailing up the SoCal coast when the Santa Anas are blowing.
It makes the wind angles better (NE instead of NW), but it can pile some serious chop on top of the normal NW swell.
We arrived in San Diego just ahead of a winter storm and just in time to meet our friends Sam and Anthony from the Farr 55 Whistle Wind, who started the Bash a day behind us.
People always ask, “The Bash is all upwind, right? Do you have to motor the whole way?” It’s never so bleak as pointing the boat into the wind and seas while the motor labors and the mainsail flogs. The Bash is definitely motor-assisted sailing, but we’re always sailing strategically, looking for the best wind angles and using the motor to get a few more knots and point a few degrees higher than with sails alone. This year we even had some reaching and running during the last leg from Turtle Bay to San Diego.
Woo-hoo! Charter guests Sean and Carl (in the squid hat) rock the spirit of the Ha-Ha and land themselves and Vanishing Girl on the cover of Latitude 38.
This year’s Ha-Ha was Vanishing Girl’s first, and it was a great one. The weather was about as good as you could hope for: sunny, with a steady 10-25 knots from behind. Fisherman Sean caught a couple of right-sized fish along the way:
And Carl, who Ha-Ha’ed with us in 2013, rocked the Bahia Santa Maria beach party with the band:
After the beach party in Bahia Santa Maria, we had one of the fastest final legs in Ha-Ha history, thanks to a solid 20-something knot wind that followed us all the way to Cabo.
We enjoyed a few days of R&R in Cabo, then Robert and Danna flew in for the trip back up the Baja Coast.
A nice way to start the day at Lake Nacimiento as the fog lifted this morning. We took the Wetas out for some fun on the lake this afternoon, along with A little DeWitt sailing dinghy. Fresh water, warm weather, and good times.
Friday was fun day, spent sailing around the lake and enjoying the warm weather. On Saturday, the wind spent all afternoon gathering energy for a wonderful hour of double-digit wind speeds just in time for our short-course racing. Most of the crew left Sunday before noon, but Greg and Jared stuck around—and it was worth it! Hours of gentle breeze let us explore the whole lake from one end to the other before it was time to pack up the boats and head back to San Francisco.
Thanks to Molly, Greg, and Bruce for making this such an enjoyable event! Next year we’re planning to take over nearby Lake San Antonio.
We had both boats out for Sunday’s Weta Play Day at Treasure Island’s Clipper Cove. What a great way to spend a balmy (for January in San Francisco) day on the Bay.
Jennifer Kroon captures the moment:
Weather for November’s Weta Play Day started out wet. Very wet. Wet enough that most people who were planning to come canceled. Too bad, because just as we were rigging the boats, the clouds broke up and the rain stopped, leaving us with a nice afternoon of light-wind sailing.
What is a Weta Play Day? It’s a day when our Wetas get some exercise, and you get the chance to sail on one. We have two or three boats on the water in a sheltered environment, with plenty of experienced sailors around to share tips and tricks.
Stay tuned for next month’s Weta Play Day, and hope for sunny skies.
After taking a year off for the America’s Cup, the SoCal Ta-Ta was back in 2014 with another week of as-good-as-it-gets sailing. Charter guests Scott, Mark, Charlie, and Simon enjoyed a week of spinnaker runs between the SoCal coast and the Channel Islands while polishing their downwind driving skills.
The travel plan alternated between half-day reaches between destinations (usually 20-25 miles) and days spent enjoying SoCal’s harbors and island anchorages while socializing with the rest of the Ta-Ta fleet. This year’s itinerary in a nutshell:
This is one of the finest sailing experiences around—just look at the smile on Charlie’s face!
You won’t want to miss next year’s Ta-Ta.
More Ta-Ta photos
Our second-annual Weta Training Camp was a big hit, with Wetas coming from all along the California Coast. The weather in Ventura was great (again), which we able to make the most of because of the long summer solstice days.
Day one started off with a meet-and-greet, then we finished rigging the boats and set out for a harbor sail before parking the boats on the beach for lunch.
The afternoon was some fun-sailing, boat-for-boat tuning, and capsize practice.
How hard is it to capsize a Weta? It takes some effort! Here’s Jared hiking out to leeward with the sheets in tight, and still can’t overcome the boat’s stability.
Day two started off with a whiteboard session on racing tactics given by local ace Mike Hopper, then it was time to hit the water for some short-course racing. We ran eight races in the afternoon, focusing on start tactics and optimizing boat speed both upwind and downwind.
Thanks to all who participated, and we’ll see you again for next year’s event!
Latitude 38’s Baja Ha-Ha Cruiser’s Rally is the most popular and well-liked sailing rally on the west coast. With its perfect mix of adventure and 750 miles of downwind sailing, there is no better way to spend ten days in November when the rest of the country is settling into fall weather blahs. The Baja sun and sailing is hard to beat!
We did the Baja Ha-Ha this year on Orange with three charter guests: Nelz Carpentier from Cal Sailing Club (and recently alumnus of the Clipper Round-the-World Race), John Ricks, and Carl Harrington.
The pictures tell the story better than words—here is Capt Pablo’s gallery from the trip.
The happy crew (in costume here as ’70’s tennis pros) arrived safely in Cabo on November 6 where they turned Orange over to Capt Jared and his delivery crew for the Baja Bash back to Ventura.
Our friends Dan, Molly, Jennifer, Mark from Cal Sailing Club and Mark’s friend Nick came down for a three-day weekend at Pierpont Performance Sailing. We made the most of it, getting out the Wetas, the support RIB, and the big trimaran Orange for an overnight trip to Santa Cruz Island.
It was this group’s first time on a Weta—and their first time in Ventura Harbor. Fellow Weta sailor Bob Shirley was there to show them the way, and they wasted no time getting to the fun zone, taking the little boats outside the breakwater where the wind was blowing a brisk 15 knots.
We launched the support RIB soon after and followed them out to take some photos. Looks like they’re having a good time!
After a few full-throttle reaches around Pierpont Bay, everyone returned wet and smiling, ready for a warm shower and some chowder at Brophy Bros.
Friday night was spent aboard our big trimaran, Orange, which left us well-positioned for a morning departure to Santa Cruz Island in the morning. We set off at 9:00a, motoring west until the sea breeze filled in. The sun came out and so did the wind, sending us on a spirited beat to the island.
We dropped anchor at Pelican anchorage on the west side of the island in the early afternoon with plenty of daylight remaining for snorkeling, swimming, and exploring on the stand-up paddleboard.
Molly was planning a first-rate dinner of tossed salad, grilled chicken, and wild rice, so closer to sunset, she sent most of the crew ashore. You know what a smart move that was if you have ever tried to stage a complex meal in the galley of a boat with seven people aboard.
Paul took the shore crew in the support RIB to the drop site on the far side of the anchorage’s headland. We hiked up to the point to take in the views, and to look at the ruins of an old homestead overlooking the anchorage.
After taking in the scenery (and the smell of dinner on the grill), we were picked up by the RIB at the base of the caves on the near side of the headland. Paul took us back to Orange where we all enjoyed an excellent dinner and sundowners aboard.
One of the best things about overnighting on a trimaran is sleeping on the nets under the stars. Throw down a camping pad (for insulation) and a sleeping bag, and be lulled to sleep by the boat’s gentle motion (and the barking of sea lions).
The next morning, we left Orange at anchor and took the RIB along the coast of the island to Painted Cave. The cave is 160 feet tall at the entrance and has several chambers large enough to be navigable by boat. We took the RIB as far in as the third chamber, where sea lions huddle on a rock and entertain themselves by barking into the echo chamber under the island. It is absolutely dark at that point, so a flashlight is definitely recommended—especially if you are the least bit claustrophobic.
Cal Sailing Club is based in Berkeley, and with our guests still having a six-hour drive ahead of them, we returned to Orange, weighed anchor, and began the trip downwind back to Ventura. The spinnaker run back wasn’t quite as brisk as the beat over, but the dolphins came out to entertain us. We saw about six or seven separate pods; each came close enough to swim around and under the boats for a minute or two before continuing on their way.
It was a fun, boat-filled weekend with good weather and great company. We enjoyed hosting, and will likely have more tri-curious members of the club come down for some warm(er) weather SoCal sailing.
Check out the rest of the photos from our photographer-on-the-scene Jennifer Kroon.